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Livsstilsförändringar och "grön" teknik: Om relationen mellan ekonomisk och ekologisk rationalitet i miljöpolitiken
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute for Housing and Urban Research.
2007 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Lifestyle Changes and 'Green' Technology : On the Relation between Economic and Ecological Rationality in Environmental Policy (English)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation is a study on the contemporary environmental policy discourse called ecological modernisation and especially on eco-modernist social theory. Its central tenet on the (forthcoming) simultaneous existence of economic rationality and ecological rationality constitutes the primary object of an ‘explanatory critique’. The twofold aim of the study is (1) to show that the idea of individuals simultaneously being both ecologically and economically rational must be false and (2) to suggest one reason for its existence. Hence, the simultaneity motif within ecological modernisation theory is analysed as an example of ‘false consciousness’.

By presenting certain energy saving measures as examples, the environmental planning dilemma inherent in the practice of simultaneously applying ‘green’ technological measures and encouraging ‘green’ lifestyle changes is demonstrated. ‘Green’ technology is in the study described as a type of economic means of control and thus permeated by economic rationality while, on the contrary, ‘green’ lifestyle changes are described as genuinely representing ecological rationality. The study contends that you cannot evoke ecological values (essential for the emergence of ‘green’ lifestyles) by applying economic means of control. Drawing on the analytic dualism of critical realist Margaret S. Archer and the neo-Marxist environmental sociology of Allan Schnaiberg, this dilemma is conceived of as a ‘constraining contradiction’ or a ‘dialectical conflict’.

The study ends with a tentative synthesis of ecological modernisation and ‘green rationalism’ – the latter being political scientist John S. Dryzek’s term for the neo-Marxist environmental policy discourse. It is argued that ecological values could co-exist with economic objectives, but only insofar the ecologically rational activities and the economically rational activities in society are kept apart and, consequently, do not conflict. If then the ecologically rational actions eventually become more numerous than the economically rational ones, a truly ecological rationalisation of society might ensue.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Sociologiska institutionen , 2007. , 204 p.
Keyword [en]
Sociology, analytic dualism, dialectical conflict, ecological modernisation, energy saving measures, explanatory critique, lifestyle changes, logical contradiction, sustainable development
Keyword [sv]
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-8271ISBN: 978-91-506-1964-5OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-8271DiVA: diva2:170854
Public defence
2007-12-07, Sal IX, Universitetshuset, Uppsala, 10:15
Available from: 2007-11-09 Created: 2007-11-09 Last updated: 2011-01-28Bibliographically approved

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